A precocious toddler leads his multiethnic play group in fun and mischief.
All the babies in the group are waiting for inspiration when brown-skinned, kinky-haired Benny arrives and stirs things up. He pulls out toy instruments, and the little ones bang and toot and form a parade. The exuberant crew heads for the market next door and grabs some food supplies, causing quite a bit of gleeful mayhem, tumbling items from the shelves. After eating all their snacks right there in the market—and leaving a prodigious mess—they begin to tire and are perfectly content to return to play-group headquarters for naptime. Gerber employs lilting syntax with bouncy rhymes that move those babies across the pages until they collapse in a sleepy heap. The bold, large-type text appears in generous white space above or below the illustrations. Dyer’s very softly hued illustrations, rendered in textured colored pencil, fill double-page spreads that follow the toddlers on their adventures. As well as belonging to myriad races, the toddlers demonstrate individual personalities. Lest readers fear that these babies have escaped without supervision, their teacher is with them every step of the way, letting them explore freely, much to the consternation of the storekeeper. Small groups or baby on a lap will work best for sharing this book, as the lovely but very pale visuals are difficult to see from afar.
Exuberant and full of fun. (Picture book. 2-6)